Contribution of periodontal disease in pregnant women as a risk factor for low birth weight

Community Dent Oral Epidemiol. 2009 Dec;37(6):527-33. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0528.2009.00492.x. Epub 2009 Aug 20.


Starting in the 1990s, several authors sought to investigate the hypothesis that periodontitis during pregnancy may contribute towards the birth of low-weight children. However, this relationship is still not well established. The aim of this study was to evaluate whether this oral infection is associated with this gestational event.

Methods: This was a case-control study among 548 puerperae, of whom 164 were the mothers of low-weight live births (case group) and 384 were the mothers of live births of normal gestational weight (control group). They were selected at two public hospital units in two municipalities in the State of Bahia. From interviews and data gathered using live birth cards or birth certificates, information was obtained regarding age, height, previous diseases, marital status, socioeconomic situation, smoking and alcohol use. Mothers who presented at least four teeth on which one or more sites had a probing depth of greater than or equal to 4 mm, clinical attachment loss of greater than or equal to 3 mm and bleeding on probing, at the same site, were deemed to present periodontal disease. The data were analysed by stratification from logistic regression.

Results: Periodontal disease was diagnosed in 42.7% of the case group and 30% of the control group. A statistically significant association was found between periodontal disease and low birth weight (unadjusted OR = 1.74; 95% CI: 1.19-2.54), particularly among mothers with low schooling levels (adjusted OR = 2.30; 95% CI: 1.14-4.6).

Conclusion: The findings suggest an association between periodontal disease and low birth weight among mothers with low education levels.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Brazil / epidemiology
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Educational Status
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Low Birth Weight*
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Middle Aged
  • Odds Ratio
  • Periodontal Diseases / complications*
  • Periodontal Diseases / epidemiology
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / epidemiology*
  • Prevalence
  • Regression Analysis
  • Risk Factors
  • Young Adult